Wednesday, December 30, 2009

thoughts on strength - part 1

For the better part of the last 25 years, I have been involved in some sort of strength training. I started out around 13 years old with metal pipes welded to my basement beams for pull ups, solid steel dumbells that I watched my dad use every morning to build his body into granite, a barbell set that had sand for weight instead of metal and my own bodyweight. They were the tools that I would wage war against every night for 2 or 3 hours. I remember the punching bag that had bloody reminders written all over it from the continuous punishment that it inflicted up on me. I loved every second of it.
While I was getting stronger physically, I was also building confidence, aggression and pain tolerance. There was nothing the world could do to me that the weights hadn't done to me already. I was constructing a suit of armor that nothing could penetrate, and, consequently, did not let anything out at the same time. I was forging my identity.
The weights don't lie to you. They are your friend, and your enemy. They are relentless. If you think you are strong, they will humble you and challenge you to put more weight on the bar. They do not praise you nor do they shame you. They do not share in your victories or cry in your defeats. They are always there for you when nothing else is. They are tested and true - they will never let you down or leave you for another.
Strength itself is very individual - you can make it as little or as big as you want to. For me, lifting weights was the only thing I could identify with, and still can much to this day. With a barbell, I know what I am getting - the cold steel in my hands is as comforting as a mother's loving touch to a crying child. Along with the obvious physical connection, I relied on the weights to give me what I wanted emotionally as well: solace, peace, purpose, making sense of the senseless, drive, pleasure, the list could go on. But most of all, I summoned the weights to give me the one thing that nothing else could give me: Pain.
I never felt more alive when I could hear my tendons and ligaments on the brink of ripping off my bones; when my muscles would beg for mercy as I unleashed set after set, rep after rep. I did not care about anything until I could feel the pain of my body while I was training. Up until that point, I did not know how to feel anything. With the weights in my hand, I could feel everything. Pain was a "gateway" emotion that taught me how to develop other emotions. I became addicted to the pain and nothing could replace it.
I can say without doubt that weights made me who I am today, taught me more than any textbook, and helped me out of the darkest periods of my life. In part 2 I will go over why I believe every kid - even non athletes - should be doing some sort of strength training no matter the goals, age, sport, sex or other labels.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Health Care Reform starts with kids....are you listening Obama?!

Statistics rarely lie....Only 8 percent of elementary schools, 6.4 percent of middle/junior high schools and 5.8 percent of high schools require daily PE. That is pathetic and embarrassing; almost criminal. Yet in Obama's Reform Bill, school-based PE is not even addressed. Here is a good article outlining the problem.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

specialization at a young age: more harm than good?

I tend to agree with this article that we are not doing a very good job of developing well-rounded athletes but more burned out, injured and overtrained kids.

Friday, December 11, 2009

one body - no warranty, no oil changes, no trade-ins!

great post by Mike Boyle

Imagine you are sixteen years old and your parents give you your first car. They also give you simple instructions. There is one small hitch, you only get one car, you can never get another. Never. No trade-ins, no trade-ups. Nothing

Ask your self how would you maintain that car? My guess is you would be meticulous. Frequent oil changes, proper fuel, etc. Now imagine if your parents also told you that none of the replacement parts for this car would ever work as well as the original parts. Not only that, the replacement parts would be expensive to install and cause you to have decreased use of your car for the rest of the cars useful life? In other words, the car would continue to run but, not at the same speed and with the efficiency you were used to.

Wow, now would we ever put a lot of time and effort into maintenance if that were the case.

After reading the above example ask yourself another question. Why is the human body different? Why do we act as if we don’t care about the one body we were given. Same deal. You only get one body. No returns or trade-ins. Sure, we can replace parts but boy it’s a lot of work and it hurts. Besides, the stuff they put in never works as well as the original “factory” parts. The replacement knee or hip doesn’t give you the same feel and performance as the original part.

Think about it. One body. You determine the mileage? You set the maintenance plan?

No refunds, no warranties, no do-overs?

How about this perspective? One of my clients is a very successful businessman. He often is asked to speak to various groups. One thing he tells every group is that you are going to spend time and money on your health. The truth is the process can be a proactive one or a reactive one. Money spent on your health can take the form of a personal trainer, massage therapist and a gym membership or, it can be money spent on cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and plastic surgeons. Either way, you will spend money.

Same goes for time. You can go to the gym or, to the doctors office. It’s up to you. Either way, you will spend time. Some people say things like “I hate to work out”. Try sitting in the emergency room for a few hours and then get back to me. Working out may not seem so bad. Much like a car, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. However, in so many ways the body is better than a car. With some good hard work you can turn back the odometer on the body. I wrote an article a while back ( Strength Training- The Fountain of Youth) that discussed a study done by McMaster University which showed that muscle tissue of older subjects actually changed at the cellular level and looked more like the younger control subjects after strength training.

Do me a favor, spend some time on preventative maintenance, it beats the heck out of the alternative. Just remember, you will spend both time and money.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

shoe selection, tight ankles and poor performance

Recently I have been noticing the type of shoes that most kids are wearing while they train. They usually fall into three categories:
1) running shoes - high and narrow soles, fine for linear running;
2) training shoes - but still high soles (think Nike Shox);
3) whatever is available when they walk out the door!

While not a scientific study in the making, the problem that I see with all of the above is that the ankle joint suffers. The ankle is a mobile joint, capable of inversion, eversion, flexion, extension and circumduction. However, when certain type of shoes are worn, it forces the ankle to become less mobile than it should. The heel cord (achilles tendon) can actually shorten over time with a shoe that elevates the heel from the ground (similar to high heels on women). This can cascade up the body; believe it or not, tight ankles may even be a culprit in low back pain!
For athletes, it can lead to poor ankle range of motion and affect movement skills, from linear speed to lateral changes of direction to planting and cutting.
The second thing that poor footwear can lead to is poor lateral deceleration ability. In any sport that involves changing of direction, lateral forces are placed on the foot and ankle. If a shoe with a high heel elevates the foot and has a narrow sole, the athlete may run the risk of rolling his/her ankle. If mechanics are poor to begin with, the problem is exacerbated.
The ground reaction forces have to travel through the shoe to reach the foot and consequently the rest of the kinetic chain. If a shoe is high and thick, some of the forces are dissipated within the shoe and not the tissues of the body; while this may seem trivial, forces must be predominantly absorbed by the body not footwear.

What is the solution? I have two suggestions:
1) train more barefoot and/or
2) wear shoes that have a low AND wide profile. I have found that Nike Free is the best for lateral changing of direction as it satisfies the criteria of a low profile and a wide base.
I have worn them for several years and also feel that they strengthen the bottom of my foot at the same time they provide lateral stability. I believe Under Armour also has a similar shoe. The Nike Free is marketed as the "closest thing to training barefoot" so there are some additional benefits as well that barefoot training offers.
BTW, I have no financial interest in selling these shoes...they just seem to work the best for me. If you have not tried them out, I encourage you to wear them for a while, and also try some barefoot training to strengthen your foot and ankle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

over 50% of Ohioans expected to be obese in just 10 years!

Wow...and we think health care is a mess now!?! According to an Emory University report, things are not going to get better any time soon. To read more, click here.
To access the Emory study, click here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

new screening tool for ACL injury rates

A new study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM) found screening the knee muscles of a noninjured female athlete with electromyography (EMG) technology can determine if she is at high risk for an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture.

"An ACL injury for a female athlete doesn't just affect them at the moment of injury; a high percentage of female athletes who suffer an ACL injury experience long-term consequences such as osteoarthritis and disability. This is unacceptable," says lead author, Mette K. Zebis, PhD, at the Institute of Sports Medicine Copenhagen and the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment. "Our research aimed to evaluate the possible use of EMG recording as a tool for ACL injury risk screening. If we can identify those at risk for the injury, we can help prevent it."

EMG analysis can be used to evaluate neuromuscular activity in specific muscles during sports specific movements. The study utilized the technology to screen 55 noninjured female athletes while they performed a standardized side-cutting maneuver. A side-cutting maneuver is used to "fake" the defensive player to one direction while the athlete moves in the opposite direction. The side-cutting maneuver was selected because this maneuver is highly common during a game, and a large number of non-contact ACL injuries appear to occur in this situation.

Of the 55 athletes studied, five had lower EMG signals in the medial hamstring muscle on the back of their thigh and higher activity in their quadriceps muscle. Those same five athletes experienced an ACL rupture later on in the competitive season.

Analysis was conducted on all subject's EMG signals and a high-risk zone was defined. Ten individuals initially fell into the high-risk zone, with five of those being the ones who subsequently experienced a non-contact ACL rupture.

The study is the first to define a specific muscle group activity that may predispose a female athlete to an ACL injury. The high-risk zone developed by Zebis and her coauthors is a "promising" tool, but she explains that further studies with a larger sample size are still needed to standardize neuromuscular screening for determining those in the high-risk zone.

"Our study provides a foundation," she says. "Larger studies should be conducted to confirm our suspicions that this screening tool will be a huge asset in preventing future female athletic injuries."

More information on the American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM), which is published by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), is at:

Monday, October 5, 2009

why I do what I do - part 1

Most of you reading this have been to ASF. You are an athlete, a coach, a parent, a boot camp killer. For those of you who have not, this still applies.
"Love what you do and you will never work another day in your life"....I forgot who originally said that, but it certainly holds true for me. Stick with me for a couple of minutes as I go over my personal reasons for doing what I may even agree with a couple.

1) I can't get it out of my system. The "it" I am referring to is athletics, sport, competition, physicality. I know the power of playing sports and the lessons that go along with it. Opening ASF allows me to give back to young athletes some of the same lessons that I learned growing up with sports as my platform.

2) I don't want to work for someone! Plain and simple. Call it any name~rebel, entrepreneur, leader, non-conformist. I want to do things the way I want to, when I want to and where I want to. It doesn't mean I will always do it right, but I am willing to learn from what I did wrong and correct it. I want to make mistakes because it empowers me to always do better. There is no worse way to go through life than to hate what you do and who you work for.

3) Kids make life interesting. Adults are pretty boring (sorry adults, but we are). Kids give me energy which I reciprocate. Kids make me think in new and creative ways.

4) I really, really want to make a difference in the lives of the people that I work with. It can be getting faster, stronger, quicker, but also more confident, more positive and mentally tough. I think that the initial reason that people come in isn't always the reason they continue.

5) When I wake up, I can't wait to get to work. When I am done, I don't want to leave. How many can say that?!

Part 2 will be later this month.

Friday, September 25, 2009

key to living long

Walter Breuning, who turned 113 on Monday, eats just two meals a day and has done so for the past 35 years.

"I think you should push back from the table when you're still hungry," Breuning said.

At 5 foot 8, ("I shrunk a little," he admitted) and 125 pounds, Breuning limits himself to a big breakfast and lunch every day and no supper.

"I have weighed the same for about 35 years," Breuning said. "Well, that's the way it should be."

"You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much."

Check out his other lifestyle habits here

Friday, September 18, 2009

group exercise makes you happier :)

Exercising together appears to increase the level of the feel-good endorphin hormones naturally released during physical exertion, a study suggests.

A team from Oxford University carried out tests on 12 rowers after a vigorous workout in a virtual boat.

Those who trained alone withstood less pain - a key measure of endorphins - than those who exercised together.

Writing in Biology Letters, the authors speculate these hormones may underpin an array of communal activities.

Row your boat

It has long been known that physical exertion releases endorphins and that these are responsible for the sometimes euphoric sensations experienced after exercising.

They have a protective effect against pain.

But researchers from Oxford University's Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology found this response was heightened by the synergistic effect of rowing together.

After 45 minutes of either rowing separately or in a team of six, the researchers measured their pain threshold by how long they could tolerate an inflated blood pressure cuff on the arm.

Exercise increased both groups' ability to tolerate pain, but the difference was significantly more pronounced among the team rowers.

We know from experience that exercising in groups is good for people at many levels, it's motivational, it's social
Carole Seheult, British Psychological Society

This, they said, was a measure of an increased endorphin release.

As well as potentially improving performance in sport, the researchers speculated that this endorphin release may be the mechanism that underpins the sense of communal belonging that emerges from activities such as religious rituals, dancing or laughing.

"The results suggest that endorphin release is significantly greater in group training than in individual training even when power output, or physical exertion, remains constant," said lead author Emma Cohen.

"The exact features of group activity that generate this effect are unknown, but this study contributes to a growing body of evidence suggesting that synchronised, coordinated physical activity may be responsible."

Carole Seheult, a sport and exercise psychologist from the British Psychological Society, said the findings were entirely credible.

"Rowing is a sport which requires real team work and endorphins could well foster that process.

"But more generally we know from experience that exercising in groups is good for people at many levels, it's motivational, it's social. Groups sessions really do work."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/09/15 23:01:10 GMT

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

train hard, eat right and, oh yeah, sleep good!

Athletes are constantly tinkering with their nutrition and training plans to gain an edge. But a study performed by Stanford University researchers suggests that good old fashioned sleep, and plenty of it, may help an athlete's performance as much as anything. Click here for a recap

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ohio in top 10 of fattest states

Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, a report released today by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In addition, the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states.

"Our health care costs have grown along with our waist lines," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. "The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing health care costs in the United States. How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health?"

Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, making it the fifth year in a row that the state topped the list. Four states now have rates above 30 percent, including Mississippi, Alabama (31.2 percent), West Virginia (31.1 percent) and Tennessee (30.2 percent). Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of obese adults are in the South. Colorado continued to have the lowest percentage of obese adults at 18.9 percent.

Adult obesity rates now exceed 25 percent in 31 states and exceed 20 percent in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average for adult obesity was 15 percent. Sixteen states experienced an increase for the second year in a row, and 11 states experienced an increase for the third straight year.

Click here to read more

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

looking for a role model in sports?

Look no further than Myron Rolle!

acute and long-term effects of exercise on mood

The more intense the exercise, the longer the elevated mood. Even moderate intensity affected mood for several hours after training was stopped. Read more from the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting

Monday, June 1, 2009

picking out the correct training shoe

Newswise — It seems like there are as many different types of athletic shoes as there are people to wear them. So how do you know which one is right for you and your activities? Is it the cool style or the vibrant colors that should attract you to a shoe? Or is it the fit, function and structure of a shoe?

“There are hundreds of athletic shoes you can choose from. It’s very important to choose the correct shoe for the activity or sport you participate in because it can help you perform better and help keep you injury free,” explains University of Michigan MedSport Athletic Training Clinical Specialist Vahan Agbabian. However, choosing the appropriate shoe isn’t an easy task due to the hundreds of shoes avaiable.

The prescription for a correct athletic shoe includes knowing your foot type, knowing your mobility and flexibility levels and knowing what activity you want to purchase the shoe for. Agbabian stresses the importance of choosing the correct shoe based on your foot type.

“If you have a higher arched foot, a higher arch shoe will probably feel more comfortable. For example, a Nike brand has a type of shock system and your heel is propped up with this device and with the heel propped up it matches a high arch foot type,” says Agbabian.

Not only is structure of the shoe important, but so is flexibility of the person’s feet and flexibility of the shoe. Athletic shoes must be flexible or your foot will fight them as it rolls through each step, leading to shin splints. Twist them and they should twist. Bend them and they should bend at the ball of the foot, not in the middle of the arch. Set them down and poke the toe - it should rock as the toe should be slightly off the ground. If it passes these tests, it might be the correct pair.

Agbabian warns that “the type of shoe you choose should match your activity level.” For example, if someone is trying to find a shoe to play tennis in, it needs to have enough stability to hold up to the demands of tennis -- sprinting to the net, serving and cutting. You wouldn’t want to play tennis in running shoes, Agbabian says, because they don’t provide the stability you need. Running shoes aren’t designed for that kind of stability.

“Probably the one shoe style that allows you the most variability is a cross training shoe. You can run, be on the court, and go in the gym to work out,” explains Agbabian. A cross training shoe is a style that carries characteristics of different types of shoes. Cross training shoes offer enough stability as well as comfort in order for individuals to participate in a variety of activities.

The most common problem that Agbabian and his colleagues see with people who have been wearing improper or incorrect shoes are blisters.

“If their foot type really doesn’t match the correct shoe then injury is likely to occur, such as ankle sprains and chronic pains that eventually travel up the leg,” Agbabian says. He often sees patients who have a wider, flat foot who are using a shoe that’s not wide enough. The foot collapses, it flattens out more, and thus puts a lot of strain on their shins. This leads to the classic case of shin splints.

When deciding to replace a pair of shoes, consider the shoe’s construction and what activity the shoe is designed for. Even if shoes feel OK, they may be losing their ability to cushion and support your feet after prolonged use. Agbabian suggests changing running and walking shoes every 500 to 600 miles and court shoes such as basketball shoes after every season played. If shoes get to 500, 600 or 700 miles they begin to wear down or break a bit, then it’s time to change shoes.

The U-M team offers these quick tips that everyone should follow in order to find the “right” pair of athletic shoes:

* Shop for shoes in the afternoon, when your feet are at maximum size. (They swell during the day.)

* Wear the socks you normally wear with athletic shoes to assure the right fit.

* Try on both shoes. Most people's feet vary a bit in size from each other, so you should be sure the shoes fit your largest foot comfortably.

* Check for space at the end of your longest toe. There should be enough to let you move without pinching. Some experts recommend the length of a thumbnail.

* If you're a woman and your feet are wide, try men's shoes. These are usually cut wider. To find a size for starters, start with your own size, and subtract two.

* Move around in the shoes, and insist that they feel like a perfect fit right away. If they don't, keep looking.

* Don't shop by price alone, but do look for materials that breathe and good workmanship.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

study: strength training beneficial for young athletes (why didn't I think of that?!)

Participating in even a short-duration strength-training program during childhood and especially during adolescence may not only improve one’s body composition, but also increase self-esteem and improve blood lipid profiles, according to a study published in the May/June issue of Sports Health A Multidisciplinary Approach.

The most recent research in this area has found that child and pre-adolescent athletes can improve their strength by 30-50 percent after just 8-12 weeks in a strength-training program. Other benefits also include improved bone mineral density and body composition, balance, lipid profiles and self-esteem,” reports co-authors Katherine Stabenow Dahab, MD and Teri Metcalf McCambridge, MD, FAAP from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

The study reviewed relevant research, consensus guidelines, and position statements to present a comprehensive review and guidelines for safe and effective youth strength training. The study recommends an individualized program based on age, maturity, and personal goals and objectives of the youth athlete. A comprehensive youth strength-training routine should incorporate: • Ten to 20 minutes of warm up and cool down (5-10 minutes for each segment) • A variety of resistance types (free weights, weight machines, rubber tubing, and medicine balls) • Training the major muscle groups (chest, shoulders, back, arms, legs, abdomen, and lower back) • A balanced effort between flexion and extension of the upper and lower body joints

“The goal is to perform two to three exercises per muscle group. Start with one to two sets per exercise, with 6 to 15 repetitions in each set,” explains Dahab. “The participant should rest one to three minutes between sets. Appropriate weight should allow 10-15 repetitions to be completed with proper form, some fatigue, but not complete exhaustion.”

In addition, the study suggests that adult supervision is a central part of the strength training program’s success or failure. “Injuries that do occur to the youth athlete are a direct result of lack of supervision, misuse of equipment, lifting inappropriate amounts of weight, or use of improper techniques. It is crucial that a trained professional teach youth athletes proper form, as well as how and when to add weight.” Dahab warns. As with any form of exercise a physician’s clearance is important to obtain and a pre-training physical is recommended.

“The health benefits of strength training far outweigh the potential risks. Strength training, when done correctly, can improve the strength, and overall health of children and adolescents of all athletic abilities. This is especially important in today’s society where childhood obesity rates continue to rise.” Dahab concludes.

Published bimonthly, Sports Health is a collaborative publication from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), and the Sports Physical Therapy Section (SPTS). Other organizations participating in the publication include the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM). For more information on this study, please e-mail Lisa Weisenberger at or visit

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the latest on ACL injuries

Which gender has the most injuries? Which sport has the most? The least? In practice or in games? How many injuries require surgery? How do they happen? For answers and more insight, click right here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

are healthy foods really that healthy?

the answers may surprise you!

Cincinnati Children's Hospital: children in day care do not get enough activity

Nearly 75 percent of children ages 3-6 are in child care centers, and many are not be getting enough exercise.

A focus group study of child care providers by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center shows several reasons children are not getting as much physical activity as they should: some providers said they feel pressured by parents to prioritize classroom time for learning over outdoor time for motor development; some providers cited a fear of injury and the cost of playground design and upkeep as other barriers to children’s physical activity in child care.

The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will be presented May 2 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Baltimore.

“Child care providers told us that many parents were more focused on their children learning cognitive skills such as reading, writing and preparing for kindergarten than their participation in recess,” says Kristen Copeland, MD, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the study’s main author. “And yet childcare providers realized that some of the most valuable lessons in science, nature, cause and effect, and even important social skills such as problem-solving and peer negotiation, all come from playing outdoors on the playground.”

The child care providers said that during playtime, children learn gross motor skills, such as learning how to skip and throw a ball. They noted that children who master gross motor skills at an early age tend to become more self-confident than other children, win more friendships, and develop their social skills.

Other barriers to physical activity cited include licensing standards and that made outdoor playgrounds unchallenging and uninteresting to children, and a lack of indoor play space and equipment that would foster activity when children had to stay inside on rainy, cold or extremely hot days. Tight center operating margins and the expense of equipment and upkeep severely limited the indoor and outdoor opportunities that many centers could offer children.

According to the most recent statistics 74 percent of US children aged 3-6 years are in some form of non-parental child care. Fifty-six percent of 3-6 year old children spend time in centers, including child-care centers and preschools. Dr. Copeland’s team conducted focus groups with 49 staff members from 34 child-care centers in the Cincinnati area including Montessori, Head Start and centers in the inner city and suburban areas to get a better idea of why children weren’t involved in physical activity during the school day.

Center staff had several creative suggestions for increasing physical activity, including partnering with a landscaping architect to put more shrubs and hills on the center’s property to encourage children’s climbing; placing a wooden dance floor in the school playroom to encourage dancing; offering workshops that teach child care providers fun games to play with children outside; and encouraging sporadic movement during the day, such as small music breaks when children can get up and move along to songs.

“Many children spend long hours in child-care, and some do not have safe places to play outdoors at home, so for many children, the child care center is their only opportunity to be active, Dr. Copeland says. “But the typical things we think should be on a playground -- such as climbers and jungle gyms -- can be very expensive and essentially cost-prohibitive for many child care centers. Those centers that could afford climbers found that their children quickly mastered them and became bored with them. If the goal is to increase physical activity, creative solutions are needed to overcome all of these barriers” she said.

weak hips may lead to lower leg injuries in runners

Click here for full story

Friday, May 1, 2009

World's largest exercise class for kids is coming in May

Millions of children in schools across the globe will walk, jog, bike or play games on May 6 as a part of Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) Day. This Youth Fitness Coalition (YFC) signature program, in partnership with American College of Sports Medicine's Exercise is Medicine(TM) initiative, promotes physical activity to children in order to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Created in 1989 by physical education teacher Len Saunders as a method of motivating children to exercise, Project ACES Day takes place on the first Wednesday each May as part of Exercise is Medicine(TM) Month, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and National Physical Education Week. Project ACES Clubs continue to promote physical activity all year long by pledging to create youth fitness programs in their schools.

"For more than 20 years, Project ACES' programs have been organized and conducted by the YFC. We hope to not only get kids active now, but also educate them about the importance of physical fitness throughout their lifetime," said H.J. Saunders, Youth Fitness Coalition Founder and President.

In the past, Project ACES events have taken place in all 50 states and countries around the world, such as England, South Africa, Poland, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Liberia and Taiwan.

Putnam School in Marietta, Ohio, has been participating in Project ACES events for more than 10 years.

"Our school's jump rope team leads warm-up exercises, and then we exercise as a group on our playground," said Barb Moberg, a physical education teacher at Putnam School. "We host special guests like the mayor, YMCA fitness instructors and school board members. We also encourage friends and families to join in. The whole celebration demonstrates how fitness can mean more than running a few laps."

Patrick Clark, an educator at the Key Learning Community River Campus in Indianapolis, says Project ACES and other programs play a key role in educating children about the importance of physical activity.

"These activities give students a chance to move around during the school day, and they often find that exercise can be fun," Clark said.

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 engage in 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day, including aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening exercises.

Additional Exercise is Medicine(TM) Month events in May continue to promote the message of the importance of physical activity to physicians, fitness professionals, members of the public, organizations and businesses.

For more information on Exercise is Medicine(TM) and how to get involved with Project ACES, visit and

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The Youth Fitness Coalition is a New Jersey-based non-profit organization committed to combating childhood obesity by making exercise programs fun and by educating children, parents and teachers about the importance of lifelong fitness and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Senate: Get junk food out of our schools!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

staying slim helps the planet

We all know that controlling our bodyweight is good for our personal health, but now there is evidence that it is good for the planet as well. Check it out here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Physical Activity Helps Children Pay Attention Better

A recent study from the University of Illinois supports a positive connection between physical activity and students' performance in the classroom. Published in the journal, Neuroscience, the study found that physical activity can help to focus students' ability to pay attention and result in improved performance on academic tests. The study tested cognitive control of 20 nine-year-old children both after a 20-minute resting period and after walking for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

more proof on best way to burn fat

High Intensity Interval Training Increases Fat Metabolic Capacities in Skeletal Muscle

High intensity interval training has recently received a
lot of attention for being a time efficient method of training.
With high intensity interval training all out efforts are
repeated. Recently researchers for Canada examined the
effects of high intensity interval training on fat oxidation.
Using untrained subjects they examined the effects of
6-weeks of high intensity interval training consisting of
1-hour of 10 x 4 minute intervals performed at 90% of peak
oxygen consumption separated by 2-minutes of rest. The
interval training regime was performed 3-days per week.
After the completion of the 6-week training program the
subject’s peak oxygen consumption was increased by 9%
and their power output was elevated by 21%. Additionally,
it was noted that after training there was a reduction
in glycogen metabolism, a decrease in lactate accumulation,
a 2-fold increase in time to exhaustion, a significant
increase in fat oxidation. Ultimately this study demonstrated
that 6-weeks of high intensity interval training has
a powerful effect on the muscles ability to oxidize fat. The
results of this study lend support to the idea that high intensity
interval training is an effective method for increasing
oxidative capacity and fat oxidation.

Perry CG, Heigenhauser GL, Bonen A, and Spriet LL.
High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and
carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal
muscle. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 33:1112 – 1123. 2008.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

softball pitching and injury risk

That big, around-the-world, underhand windup that fast-pitch softball pitchers use to overwhelm their opponents actually makes their biceps muscle work harder than an overhand throw, researchers said.
For the rest of the story, click here

Friday, April 3, 2009

are you wishing or doing?

The Difference Between Wishing and Believing
by Napoleon Hill

The majority of people never discover the difference between wishing and believing; nor do they recognize that there are six steps which people usually follow in using their mind-power for the attainment of their desires. These steps are:

First: The vast majority of people go through life by merely wishing for things the percentage of people who stop at wishing is estimates at: 70%

Second: A much smaller percentage of the people develop their wishes into desires. These are estimated at: 10%

Third: A still smaller percentage of the people develop their wishes and desires into hopes. These are estimated at: 8%

Fourth: A still smaller percentage of the people step their mind-power up to where it becomes belief. These are estimated at: 6%

Fifth: And yet a very much smaller percentage of the people crystallize wishes, desires and hopes into belief, and then into burning desire, and finally faith. This percentage is estimated at: 4%

Sixth: And last, a very small percentage of the people take the last two steps, putting their faith into action by (1) planning and (2) acting to carry out their plans. This percentage is estimated at only: 2%

The outstanding leaders in every walk of life are the ones in the sixth group. They recognize the power of their own minds, take possession of that power and direct it to whatever ends they choose. To these people the word impossible has no meaning. To them everything they want or need is possible and they manage to get it. The only trait which differentiates them from most of the others who accept failure as their lot, is that they recognize and use their mind-power for the attainment of the circumstances and things they want while the other do not.

Source: PMA Science of Success. Pgs. 232 & 233.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

20 years of fitness: 20 nuggets of wisdom

20 years of fitness: 20 nuggets of wisdom
1. Heather (my daughter) squats and deadlifts correctly...every time....better than 90% of everyone else I know :) See picture at right ---->
2. The vast majority of people don't like to exercise, yet we continue to push it down their throats. Only 14% belong to a health club...
3. Gaining weight is really easy; losing weight is really hard. But not impossible!
4. People will likely do business with you if they like you, trust you and realize you care about them.
5. Kids playing, while the numbers have fallen, will never go away. It is a time when a great deal is learned about activity and they do not even know it. The years I spent all my free time playing literally made me the person I am today.
6. When you realize what you are here for, it is a wonderful revelation.
7. All the degrees, fancy initials, certifications don't mean a thing if you cannot communicate effectively, using both your heart and mind. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
8. Morality is largely based on what you do when no one is watching.
9. Never pass up an opportunity to make someone's day better, or to make them smile if you can.
10. Live your life every day being fully aware that you are writing your legacy.
11. Lift one more pound, run one more step, jump one more inch, try one more time; but don't give up.
12. You never know when or where you may make a friend. Two of the three groomsmen in my wedding were personal training clients of mine before we became friends.
13. Adversity presents two options: Give up or move forward. Giving up is way too easy, that is why most people do it. Moving forward will always reveal true strength.
14. If you have to pick just one physical aspect to improve, pick strength. Strength will make you a better athlete, make the activities of daily living easier to do, reduce joint pain, burn more body fat in the long run and can be performed anywhere, sometimes with little to no equipment.
15. Never stop learning. Know what you know, but more importantly, know what you don't know. Life is your only school after a certain age. Know at least 5 people who are smarter and wiser than you. Learn from your parents and grandparents - they have lived a helluva lot longer than you.
16. Nutrition is responsible for at least 75% of the changes to your body, whether you trying to gain weight, lose weight or just feel good. 75% may even be too low! When I was competing in bodybuilding, the only difference was my nutrition that allowed me to get to a minimum of 5% body fat on a regular basis.
17. Marry your best friend.
18. Fitness never stops evolving. There are things today that were irrelevant 10 years ago, such as kettlebells, but have been around for decades. Fads certainly come and go. Pieces of equipment are just tools, but the one constant is HARD WORK.
19. There are no anything. The majority of us have the same access to the same information.
20. I realized in my teens that I just want to help as many people as I can in any way I can. That path has lead me to fitness, athlete training, nutrition and motivation. I am nobody special. But I do know what I want to do each and every day, and that is powerful. The meaning in life is have a purpose; the purpose is to live a life with meaning.

college athlete's and heart problems - greater than you might think

"Athlete's heart", or an enlarged heart, are more common than previously thought. Over 30% showed some sign of cardiac abnormality. If you are in college, or even high school, this study is very applicable. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Concussions affect females as much as males

Head trauma in the NFL and other collision sports has received a lot of press; female athlete concussions are on the rise. Check out the rest of the story.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Does your kid have a sweet tooth?

he or she may be in a growth spurt. Read more....

Many U.S. middle school kids physically unfit: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - U.S. kids are not only too heavy; they're also out of shape, according to a new study of 5th and 7th grade students in Georgia.

Half didn't reach minimum standards for healthy aerobic fitness, Dr. Kenneth E. Powell, a physician in private practice, and his colleagues found, while nearly a quarter didn't make the grade in terms of muscle fitness, endurance or flexibility.

For the rest of the story, click here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

kids: longer bouts of activity better for obesity prevention

(Newswise) - Several bursts of exercise that last five minutes or more might be better for preventing childhood obesity than are intermittent physical activity sessions lasting four minutes or less throughout the day.

That is the key message from a four-year study that researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada conducted. The findings appear in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“If two children accumulated 60 minutes of daily physical activity, the child who accumulated more activity in bouts is less likely to be obese than the one who accumulated more of their activity in a sporadic manner,” said Ian Janssen, Ph.D., lead study author.

U.S. guidelines recommend that school-aged children participate in 60 minutes of daily physical activity, but those guidelines are open to interpretation. Janssen said there are no stipulations as to how to accumulate the 60-minutes each day.

He added, “If parents, teachers and policy makers believe kids are getting 60 minutes of continuous physical activity in a one-hour physical education class or activities like basketball practice, they are way off base. Children are often inactive during these periods.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

International Youth Conditioning Association Summit -February 20-22

Wow! What a great time I had in Louisville over the weekend. I have probably attended 50 conferences in the last 10 years but have never been so moved and inspired by the folks at the IYCA. I have more energy and passion than ever [if that is possible] and truly believe I was meant to work with youth, not just to be better athletes, but to make a difference.
Make no mistake, the IYCA is a business, but they transcend the boundaries of traditional organizations by creating a movement, a revolution, a warrior-attitude. I am proud to be an IYCA member and look forward to representing their mission.
Besides receiving great information, I had the pleasure to meet and speak with Carlo Alvarez, the strength coach for St. Xavier high school. This guy is just as intense as me! Great guy, and a great mind.

Adrenaline Sports thanks you for allowing us to train, develop and inspire the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

popular 'sport science' to return in March

Fox Sports Network’s “Sport Science” will start its second season on March 22.

The series, hosted by creator and executive producer John Brenkus, tests the limits of athletic abilities and challenges assumptions about athletes and sports under the scientific guidance of Dr. Cindy Bir.

Mr. Brenkus will welcome many new athletes into the “Sport Science” lab this season, including NFL stars Ray Lewis, Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis and Tank Johnson; NBA stars Stephon Marbury, Kevin Love, Amare Stoudemire and Luke Walton; and Major League Baseball’s Matt Kemp and James Loney of the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitcher Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres.

The season’s first episode will test what generates more power, natural adrenaline or an adrenaline shot, with MMA fighter Houston Alexander agreeing to be injected with a dose of epinephrine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

strength training helps running economy in long distance running

Running economy can be quantified as the oxygen consumption at a given intensity of exercise.
A greater running economy or efficiency of movement can result in a lower energetic cost
when running at sub-maximal speeds, thus allowing the runner to move faster over a given
distance. One method for improving running economy is the implementation of a strength
training regime. However, little data exists comparing different types of strength training regimes on running economy. Sixteen well trained runners were randomly divided into two resistance training interventions, explosive or heavy resistance training. Each training intervention was performed twice per week for the duration of the study. Both groups performed exercise that targeted the lower leg musculature including
the leg press, parallel squat, leg extension, leg flexion, and calf raise. The explosive training
group performed three sets of 12RM in each exercise, while concentrating on performing the
concentric portion of each lift as explosively as possible. The heavy weight training group
performed three sets of 6RM in each exercise. In addition to the strength training regime, the
subjects performed one high intensity aerobic exercise session (2 x 20 minutes at 60% VO-
2max) and three sub-maximal aerobic sessions (45 – 60 minutes at 60 – 70% VO2max). When
comparing the two training interventions the heavy weight training was the only intervention
to result in improvements in running economy. Additionally, the heavy weight training resulted
in a greater increase in 1RM strength and countermovement vertical jump performance when
compared to the explosive resistance training group. The most important finding of this investigation is that heavy resistance training can improve running economy. However, this study should be viewed with some caution. The explosive exercise intervention is somewhat misleading in that it does not contain the set and repetition characteristics typically seen in a strength training plan that targets explosive movements. In fact the repetition scheme selected should probably be considered a high volume or an endurance lifting session. In this light the results of this study become even more interesting in that high volume lifting is typically recommended for endurance athletes. However, the results of the current study seem to suggest that lower volume, higher intensity strength training aimed at increasing maximal strength seems to result in greater improvements in running economy.
Guglielmo, L.G., Greco, CC, and Denadai, BS. Effects
of strength training on running economy. Int
J Sports Med 30:27 – 32. 2009.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the dangers of multiple concussions

If you play contact sports, concussions are a huge risk...take it from me-head trauma is nothing to shrug off. Multiple concussions have affected my speech patterns such that I routinely say the opposite of what I mean. Click here for the study summary.

Monday, February 2, 2009

tv watching habits among teenagers lead to bad habits later

Teenagers who spend too much time in front of the television may be setting themselves up for a lifetime of bad eating habits, researchers found.

High-school students who watched more than five hours of TV each day had a higher intake of snack foods, fried foods, fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages, and trans-fats five years later, Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota, and colleagues reported online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

For more on this study, please click here

Friday, January 23, 2009

reputation vs. character

Your reputation is what people think you are; your character is what you are.

You want your reputation and your character to match, but concentrate on your character. You may be able to fool others about the kind of person you really are for a time, but it seldom lasts for long. The surest way to make sure your character and your reputation are the same is to live your life in such a way that nothing you do would embarrass you if it were printed on the front page of the newspaper. Good character means not ever taking ethical shortcuts, even though everyone else may be doing so. You build good character by doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

-Napoleon Hill

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What is the relationship of motor skill development and fitness levels in young kids?

A recent study found a link between object-control skills in childhood and fitness in adolescence. A study published in the December issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise put 276 elementary schoolchildren in New South Wales, Australia, through movement-skill tests. Three were related to object control (kicking, catching and overhand throwing), and four were focused on locomotor skills (hopping, side galloping, vertical jumping and sprinting). Six years later, 244 students had their cardio-respiratory fitness measured by running timed laps. Boys and girls who had good object-control skills ran, on average, six extra laps than those with poor object-control skills.

Researchers think that object-control skills are often connected with participation in sports and other activities. Students who are good at these skills might be more likely to engage in recreational or organized sports, upping their fitness levels.

If you would like access to the full study, please let me know!